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Space Exploration ...Science If you know much about population and population growth, you’d know that we won’t be able to stay on Earth forever. It’s estimated that the human population reached a billion in 1800. It reached two billion in the 1920s. In 1959, the population reached three billion. In 1974, the population reached four billion. Five billion came in 1987. Six billion came in 1999. It’s estimated that we’ll reach ten billion in the 2050s. By the end of the 2100s, we’ll have at least tripled that. Unless Armageddon comes and destroys a

BIRMINGHAM WEATHER Birmingham Weather

chunk of the population, we’ll run out of room on Earth. Without implement growth laws, space will be the only solution. Between terraforming, paraterraforming, and space stations, we have a near-infinite amount of room to expand the population. If you know anything about science fiction, you’d know that terraforming is the concept of transforming a planet into a habitable environment for humans. Right now, Mars is looking like a prime candidate. There’s also paraterraforming, or the concept of constructing large domes across a planet or

moon. This, of course, is because not all planets can support an Earth-like environment. For example, Mercury is too close to the sun. The moon is too small to hold a stable atmosphere. Pluto is too cold. Then, there’s expansion to other star systems if we could develop faster-than-light travel. The Centauri System, our closest neighbor, is four light years away. Almost anything sub-light speed would take decades to traverse space. Yeah, all the Armageddon talk is depressing. Let’s talk about the bright future humanity has in the stars. BY ANT EARTH

WIND, RAIN AND FROST

The low pressure is expected to clear east on Monday taking the cold north wind and patchy rain and sleet with it. Monday night will bring the first widespread frost and ice of the season followed by a fine Tuesday. However a low pressure will bring rain into western parts of the country later on Tuesday with some hill snow. Most areas will then experience rain and strong winds overnight into Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday will then be showery days, some heavy showers are again likely with squally winds but sunshine in between. Friday may see the winds and showers ease but instead it could turn murky and chilly again. By Saturday we look out to the Atlantic for the next area of low pressure to arrive and yet more rain and strong winds for the weekend. A cold start to the week. There after temperatures recover to just above the December average with a brief dip down again on Friday.

AROUND EUROPE TODAY

Don’t you wish you held a Galaxy in your hands!?

Soldier faces charges ...Politics Ex-soldier faces jail for handing in gun Thursday, September 12, 2009, 10:30

A former soldier who handed a discarded shotgun in to police faces at least five years imprisonment for “doing his duty”. Paul Clarke, 27, was found guilty of possessing a firearm at Guildford Crown Court on Tuesday – after finding the gun and handing it personally to police officers on March 20 this year.

one moment I would be arrested.

on the table so it was pointing towards the wall.”

“I thought it was my duty to hand it in and get it off the streets.”

Mr Clarke was then arrested immediately for possession of a firearm at Reigate police station, and taken to the cells.

The court heard how Mr Clarke was on the balcony of his home in Nailsworth Crescent, Merstham, when he spotted a black bin liner at the bottom of his garden. In his statement, he said: “I took it indoors and inside found a shorn-off shotgun and two cartridges.

The jury took 20 minutes to make its conviction, and Mr Clarke now faces a minimum of five year’s imprisonment for handing in the weapon.

“I didn’t know what to do, so the next morning I rang the Chief Superintendent, Adrian Harper, and asked if I could pop in and see him.

In a statement read out in court, Mr Clarke said: “I didn’t think for

“At the police station, I took the gun out of the bag and placed it

Defending, Lionel Blackman told the jury Mr Clarke’s garden backs onto a public green field, and his garden wall is significantly lower than his neighbours. He also showed jurors a leaflet printed by Surrey Police explaining to citizens what they can do at a police station, which included “reporting found firearms”. Quizzing officer Garnett, who arrested Mr Clarke, he asked: “Are you aware of any notice issued by Surrey Police, or any publicity given to, telling citizens that if

they find a firearm the only thing they should do is not touch it, report it by telephone, and not take it into a police station?” To which, Mr Garnett replied: “No, I don’t believe so.” Prosecuting, Brian Stalk, explained to the jury that possession of a firearm was a “strict liability” charge – therefore Mr Clarke’s allegedly honest intent was irrelevant. Just by having the gun in his possession he was guilty of the charge, and has no defence in law against it, he added. But despite this, Mr Blackman urged members of the jury to consider how they would respond if they found a gun.

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He said: “This is a very small case with a very big principle. “You could be walking to a railway station on the way to work and find a firearm in a bin in the park. “Is it unreasonable to take it to the police station?” Paul Clarke will be sentenced on December 11. Judge Christopher Critchlow said: “This is an unusual case, but in law there is no dispute that Mr Clarke has no defence to this charge. “The intention of anybody possessing a firearm is irrelevant.” BY DEREK PEARSONS

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